Baby Baths

Dear Dr. Bill,

My mother recently told me that my one-year-old son should not have a bath after dinner because that’s somehow unhealthy for him!  I in fact, she said she heard about it from Focus on the Family!  But I’ve read anything that says it’s wrong to give children a bath in the evening, presumably after dinner, as part of their bedtime routine.  Please advise.



Dear Carrie,

I hate to break this to your mom, but she never heard anything like that on Focus on the Family.  In fact, when I worked at Focus I even suggested on the daily broadcast that a bath after dinner can be part of a good bedtime routine.

When I was a kid, I remember my mom used to tell us not to go swimming for at least one hour after eating.  Supposedly there was a danger that all of our limbs would freeze up with cramps and we would drown.

Well, that appears to be an old wives tale too.  Pediatricians don’t express any concern about children going swimming after eating.  Of course it’s never a good idea to engage in extremely vigorous exercise after a large meal.  So don’t let your toddler enter a triathlon after having a triple whopper with cheese.

The one bath time caution that every parent should be aware of is to never, ever leave an infant or toddler alone in a bathtub…not even for a second.  Every year hundreds of babies drown in swimming pools, bathtubs, even small amounts of water left in buckets.

Bath time can be a fun bonding time for parents and babies.  In fact, when our son Joseph was a toddler, if we even mentioned the word “bath,” his little face would light up and he would run to get his favorite bath toys.

So assure your mom that there is absolutely nothing wrong with giving a baby a bath after dinner.

Thanks for writing, Carrie.


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